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Reflecting on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings

In the early morning of 6 June 1944, thousands of men stood in Higgins boats off the coast of Normandy. They could not see around them until the bow ramp was lowered — when it was time for them to storm the Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and Omaha beaches. Over 10,000 of them would die in the next 24 hours. The largest amphibious invasion the world has ever seen took place seventy years ago today.

In the videos below, Craig L. Symonds, author of Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings, discusses the planning and execution of the invasion. Numerous, often contentious, discussions took place behind the scenes between the United States and the United Kingdom regarding the D-Day invasion strategy. And while most people believe that strategy is the key focus on winning a war, this is not often the case. Rather the concept of logistics often plays a key role in victory, and in this instance, in helping forces succeed in the storming of Normandy beach. Symonds also reveals why it’s so important to learn about the personal histories of those involved in and affected by the allied invasions of World War II, and the story of a remarkable lieutenant by the name of Dean Rockwell who played a pivotal role in the D-Day invasion. You can also learn more by entering our giveaway for signed copies of Craig Symonds’ new book.

What was the Anglo-American debate over invasion strategy?

Why did logistics trump strategy on 6 June 1944?

Why are lesser known personal accounts important to understanding the history of D-Day?

Were there any individual accounts that demonstrated the circumstantial pressures of the invasion?

For the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Oxford University Press is giving away 15 signed copies of Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings, by Craig L. Symonds. The contest ends on June 6, 2014, at 5:30pm.

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